Podcast: Diet culture, yoga and self-empowerment gurus

DU + DanaBrene Brown, Geneen Roth, Glennon Doyle, Oprah — women who want to empower us, all of them. That’s the message we’ve gotten, certainly, and many of us have felt the empowering effects of these women’s words on our lives.

But some of them haven’t gotten the message lately that worrying about weight loss or going on restrictive diets aren’t exactly empowering — or effective for that matter.

So when our friend Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD from Portland, OR’s Be Nourished sent a  wonderful video rant to their Body Trust Network members about this very topic (among others), we knew we had to get her on the podcast and talk more about this and, like, everything else. Yoga, self-empowerment gurus  promoting diet culture, social justice, true self-care, and how Dana found her way into the HAES® way of practicing are all here.

Listen here:


Tired of chasing your weight?

Let’s face it. Diets suck, and they don’t even work. If your weight has gone down and then up, up, up, and you’re not sure of what to do next, take my FREE 3-day mini course to take your first steps to getting free of the weight-loss-diet treadmill. Go here now to start.

Enrollment open!

My online program, Dare to Eat, which teaches intuitive eating skills, is open for enrollment from now till the end of December at a special price. Check out the details.


*Results Not Typical

They should make this disclaimer a little bigger, don’t you think?

Have you ever wondered about that little fine-print disclaimer you see on literally every ad for a diet or weight loss program? “*Results not typical.”

I remember seeing that when I first became interested in, then joined, Weight Watchers. They would put it at the bottom of all those enticing before-and-after photos that I would later become so addicted to. At the time, I didn’t really understand that that meant: *Results not typical.

I thought maybe it meant that some people would lose varying degrees of weight but it was impossible to know how much weight someone would lose. It never occurred to me that it might mean that some people would not lose very much weight at all, or that most people would gain most of their weight back (or more) within a few years.

No, I absolutely did not think it meant that.

And because I lost the weight I wanted to, I conveniently forgot that little disclaimer and went around thinking, “If I can do it, anyone can!” And that’s what the diet companies really want you to think, and why they show those before-and-after photos as proof* of their effectiveness.

Why do weight loss companies have to display that little fine-print disclaimer on all their ads? Because more than 30 years ago, the FTC figured out that their diet shit doesn’t work for most people. But rather than stopping the sales of snake oil (which, admittedly, might be difficult to do), they forced the snake oil companies to put this little disclaimer on all their ads selling their outrageously ineffective products.


But at least they did that, and they keep trying to crack down. They could do a better job, like demand much more rigorous, long-term evidence that any diet product or service works long-term for more than a tiny fraction of people. If they did that, we’d never see another diet company ad again.

So when you see *Results not typical anywhere, just remember what it really means. It means someone wants to sell you some high protein/low fat/low carb/low taste snake oil that most likely won’t make you thin in the long run simply because it’s not the typical result.

*This is not good proof

Tired of chasing weight loss?

Let’s face it. Diets suck, and they don’t even work. If your weight has gone down and then up, up, up, and you’re not sure of what to do next, take my FREE 3-day mini course to take your first steps to getting free of the weight-loss-diet treadmill. Go here now to start.

If you’re contemplating another diet for the upcoming new year, go here first!

The Weight Loss Industry Loves Your Shame

Tiffany Haug
Tiffany giving her awesome talk to a curious audience.

I keep trying to write a blog post about how I ended up going to the Obesity Help National Conference to watch my new friend Tiffany Haug’s presentation on sugar addiction (and how that’s not really a thing)…

And I can’t get it to come out right, because it was such a strange experience of many mixed emotions.

So here’s the raw stuff:

It was weird being there. I thought it would be mostly doctors and other health professionals trying to figure out how to make people lose weight. That seemed bad enough.

I didn’t know that, instead, it would be a lot of lay people – non-health professionals who just wanted information on how to lose weight forever, and especially a lot of higher weight people who were interested in bariatric surgery information (because this was, at its essence, a bariatric surgery conference. Many of the sponsors were bariatric surgery companies).

And it was such a strange experience to be there, because most of the time, both in person and online, I am with people who don’t talk about weight loss, who have rejected dieting as a way of life, or who have never dieted and never will diet. I hear the other voices at a distance, and can tune them out easily.

But that world is a bubble.

When I stepped out of my bubble and into the belly of the beast, as Tiffany so adroitly termed it, I saw how I and all the other attendees were viewed as prey. Prey for the protein drink and air-food sellers, prey for weight loss surgery companies. There was a palpable sadness in the air, like everyone there looking for the latest news in sustainable weight loss knew that, in fact, no such thing exists for most people. But they were going to keep tyring anyway.

It was reminiscent of my years in Weight Watchers meetings, all filled with hope and despair in equal measure.

I wanted to reach out to every person there and say, “You’re fine just the way you are. You don’t need these companies. They only want to profit from the shame they hope you never lose. Let’s run away from this place now.

But they weren’t there to hear me say that, and I wasn’t there to “save” everyone (something I have to remind myself of regularly). Most of these people would probably be shocked and horrified of my blithe use of the word “fat” as a non-judgmental body size descriptor. Fat, in this space, was something bad…something to be cured, no matter what the cost.

Instead I listened to Tiffany’s excellent talk, very excited to hear a HAES dietitian present anti-diet ideas to this group that were probably quite novel for them. One person even thanked her for not giving the usual food-fear talk.

This is how seeds get planted – one stealth anti-diet talk at a time. I left with more hope than despair for the future.

PS – Thank you to Tiffany for getting me a complimentary ticket to her talk – I could not, in good conscience, have paid any money to this diet industry debacle. (and she didn’t get paid by them, either)

Screw the diet industry. Take my Free 3 Day Course: Kick Diet-Mind to the Curb instead!